“I was born with cerebral palsy, and I get around in this wheelchair, but I was lucky enough to have people around me to show me what I am capable of. I am 20 now, I go to Rutgers, and I live on my own and am doing everything for myself.
“It’s not always easy. It was so scary to find my own social group that would be willing to accept me. I had to put myself out there and realize my own worth. If someone will not treat me the way I deserve, I will have a conversation with them and let them know what they can do differently the next time we are together.
“Like one time I went to visit a friend at their house, they told me their place is not wheelchair accessible, sorry. So I asked them if they can hang out in a place that is accessible, or can someone maybe help me up the steps, and they told me, ‘Sorry, it is just too difficult.’ That has happened to me a few times.
“But I did find some really good friends at Rutgers. Just a few days after that happened, I was with two friends, we were at a restaurant, and we got to these stairs to get in. I thought, ‘Oh, I wonder what is going to happen?’ And without even thinking about it, they lifted my chair up and carried me right up the stairs. It was so great, and we had a great dinner and everything. If you find the people who don’t even think twice about it, those are the good ones. Hold on to them.
“I have to say though, living on my own has been a fantastic experience. It is definitely my biggest accomplishment in my life.”
~ Asbury Park